“I can’t believe I had an affair,” Emily thought to herself. She reflected back on how her affair could have started, but not one thing stood out as the leading cause of her infidelity. Instead, it was a bunch of little things that happened before the first kiss. Seeing him in the preschool pick up line and thinking, he must be such a great husband and dad! Or when setting up the play date for the kids turned into a gripe session over their different marriages.
If Emily had been aware of how her behaviors were setting her up to be unfaithful, it may have prevented the destructive results of her affair. So be preventative instead of reactive. Here are 5 ways you could fall into an affair.
1. Comparing your spouse to another spouse
It’s easy to see only the good things in other people’s marriages, which can then make you feel like your marriage doesn’t add up. Our distorted view can lead to creating expectations for our own spouse that are both unfair and unrealistic; when our spouse continues to fail to live up to these skewed desires it can lead to us to look elsewhere. Here are some other expectations that may have an unhealthy impact on your marriage.
2. Seeking affirmation from someone in particular
It’s reckless to believe that marriage eliminates attraction to other men; this truth alone could sustain fidelity in your marriage! We are designed to need love and security, particularly with our spouse. Because it can become easy to just do life without connecting with your partner, we sometimes lose that connection piece that’s vital for a healthy marriage. So when someone else comes along who starts pouring into you, it can become intoxicating. Don’t wait until you have hit this low; instead seek wisdom now to prevent it. You are stronger to admit you have struggles than to wait to hit the bottom.
3. Chasing the thrill
Remember the feelings of butterflies when you were dating your husband? When you start getting them again, but with someone else, it can be both confusing and exciting. Instead of just relying on your own strength to avoid these thoughts and feelings and where they can lead, just run the other way, sometimes literally! Avoid times and places where you know this person will be. Though the thrill is exciting, it is not worth losing your marriage over.
4. Keeping secrets
So it may be really awkward or sometimes even hurtful to tell your spouse that you are attracted to someone else. But that doesn’t mean you should keep it secret. In fact, keeping it secret increases the chances you could make a terrible choice. If you can’t tell your spouse, tell your best friend, a trusted coworker, or a woman from your small group. Choose a person that will not only maintain your confidence but someone whom you respect and listen to when they tell you a tough truth. Have them keep you accountable and remind you of the important things in your life.
5. Being overly flirtatious can send the wrong message
Sometimes ladies forget how much power words and body language have. Wearing certain clothes, smiling and laughing, unintentionally sitting or standing too close to someone. All this can contribute to conveying a message you have no intention to send. Therefore, be mindful of why you chose the outfit you did, be observant of how often you laugh or smile at your interest, and be deliberate with your tone of voice and your word choices. If 99% of communication is body language, make sure yours is above reproach.
Tell us! What else would you add?
Paige Clingenpeel is a licensed teen therapist and has worked on TV, radio, and web-based media. Her passion is creating health, hope, and humor for youth and their families.